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Steven R. Travers (CALIFORNIA)

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The Deer Hunter (Widescreen)
The Deer Hunter (Widescreen)
DVD ~ DVD
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 17.98
19 used & new from CDN$ 3.80

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A CONSERVATIVE HOLLYWOOD REFLECTION, June 6 2004
This review is from: The Deer Hunter (Widescreen) (DVD)
"The Deer Hunter" (1978) starred Robert DeNiro. The film breaks numerous rules in terms of length of time and attention to detail. It can truly be called art. Small town values of American patriotism, loyalty and religious faith hold a sad story of native sons ruined in the 'Nam. The Communists are shown for what they were, savage beasts with no redeeming value. The film is an enduring monument in film history and made huge coin, but its "failure" to hue to the liberal line, especially on the nasty subject of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, made enemies for its director, Michael Cimino. When Cimino made another bid for artistic greatness, falling short with "Heaven's Gate", Hollywood turned on him in a way they never would have if his failures were liberal failures. Directors like Woody Allen are allowed to make boner after boner because they all are peppered with potshots at conservatism, Republicans, McCarthy and Christianity. How charming he is.

Taxi Driver (Collector's Edition)
Taxi Driver (Collector's Edition)
DVD ~ Robert De Niro
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 47.33
22 used & new from CDN$ 3.76

5.0 out of 5 stars SCORSES'S GENIUS IS OBVIOUS, June 6 2004
In 1976, Martin Scorsese directed "Taxi Driver", starring Robert DeNiro. Calling this a "conservative" movie is a stretch, but it is a prescient look at New York attitudes that preceded the age of Giuliani. Paul Schrader wrote it. His story is a hoot in and of itself. He and his brother were raised in a strict Calvinist Pennsylvania family, emphasizing the strictest tenets of Scripture and absolutism. The Calvinists are big on pre-ordained destiny. Released from this environment, he came to Hollywood and tried everything. Naturally, he was a mess; a drug addict, an alcoholic and a heterosexual so confused he tried homosexuality just...to try it. Given the assignment to write a screenplay, he was holed up in a downtown L.A. hotel for weeks, then months. He had little social contact except occasional taxi rides to restaurants in and around L.A.'s skid row. He began to see the world from inside the taxi, and came up with a character and a plot revolving around the concept.
DeNiro's Travis Bickle is a Vietnam Marine vet, off kilter but moral, who is sickened by the crime, drugs and immorality of 1970s New York City, seen from the taxi he drives night and day. He has an ill-fated fling with a pretty campaign worker (Cybil Shephard), goes off the deep end and portrays himself as a possible assassination threat to a Presidential candidate, although this is never fleshed out. In the end, he commits an act of vigilantism to save the life of a teenage prostitute with potential (Jodie Foster), and like in "Death Wish" (Charles Bronson), is made a hero.
The message of "Taxi Driver" is that peace comes from strength. It was a popular theme in a number of flicks. Hollywood seemed to fail to grasp some important realities about its marketplace. Time after time, movies that veered away from "touchy feely" liberalism and gave teeth to conservative characters (Eastwood's "Dirty Harry", Bronson, DeNiro, and others) made boffo box office, yet the industry has never come to grips with itself. They return time after time to premises that insult conservative audiences, and wonder why the lines get shorter.
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM

The Missiles of October
The Missiles of October
DVD ~ William Devane
Price: CDN$ 14.99
25 used & new from CDN$ 8.07

4.0 out of 5 stars "MISSILES" IS A BARNBURNER, June 6 2004
This review is from: The Missiles of October (DVD)
"The Missiles of October" starred William DeVane as JFK and Martin Sheen as RFK. Both of these actors portrayed the Kennedys better than any actors ever have. This is a patriotic film that depicts how close we came to nuclear combat toe to toe with the Russkies, and how the Kennedys saw us through the crisis. This may have been the beginning of Martin Sheen's political awakening.
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM

All the President's Men (Widescreen/Full Screen)
All the President's Men (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Dustin Hoffman
Offered by vidco
Price: CDN$ 13.39
10 used & new from CDN$ 2.89

0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THEN REDFORD MADE THE KENNEDY-STOLE-1960-ELECTION MOVIE??, June 6 2004
"All the President's Men", based on the book by Woodward and Bernstein, was impossible to resist for Redford. Nixon! Oh boy! Again, Hollywood passed up the Kennedy-stole-the-election story. What a shock! You have to hand it to these guys, though; they have talent. "President's" was masterful, thanks in large part to Goldman, who knew how to condense the story. Redford tried to play it close to the vest, and comes close to making it come off as straight and narrow. The actual truth portrayed betrays the lack of objectivity, however, at the Washington Post. Redford is Bob Woodward, a former Navy officer and a Republican. This is revealed to Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) who gives him a furtive look upon learning this shocking truth. Jason Robards is Ben Bradlee, the Post's editor. We all know the story: The DNC is broken into by Cubans with White House phone numbers in their address books, and in investigating the burglary Woodward and Bernstein suspect a larger plot, which they uncover through dogged journalism that cannot be denied. The two writers are shown to be complete heroes. Hal Halbrooke plays "Deep Throat", the White House insider who gives Woodward the leads he needs to keep investigating. To this day his identity is unknown, and it remains entirely plausible that he was invented out of whole cloth.
The story is the story, and there is no room for liberal bias in that. To Redford's credit, he does not demonize the Republicans or sermonize. Implicit threat against the pair are made, but not expanded into anything. G. Gordon Liddy did volunteer to "off" Jack Anderson for revealing CIA assets in the U.S.S.R., but there is no evidence that Nixon's Republicans ever thought about blowing Woodward and Bernstein away. Domestic political murders, as best as I can tell, are the province of the Democrats. Even in Oliver Stone's "JFK", it is Lyndon Johnson who supposedly was in on the plan to kill the President.
The bias in "All the President's Men" is subliminal, but leave it to yours truly to see it. First, there is the acronym CREEP, which stands for Committee to Re-elect the President. There have been numerous such committees over he years, and they always go by the acronym CRP. But Woodward and Bernstein turned it into CREEP. Gotcha. There is also a scene in which Bradlee, who in real life was a drinking buddy (and God knows what else) of Kennedy's, getting the news that the story is progressing and has real legs.
"You run that baby," he tells Woodward and Bernstein, then does little jig as he leaves the office. This is telling. Redford and director Alan Pakula allowed it, probably because it let them impart their own happiness over Nixon's downfall through the character. In another scene, Robards/Bradlee tells the reporters, "There's not much riding on this. Just the First Amendment and the Constitution of the United States."
Now just hoooold on there, Ben. Was Watergate really about the Constitution? Was that august document threatened? This begs the question, Where was Bradlee and Post publisher Katherine Graham when the Constitution really was threatened by their pal JFK, who stole the 1960 election? Where were they when their pal Bobby Kennedy was wiretapping Martin Luther King? Democrat operatives had to break into homes, hotels and offices to wiretap Dr. King just as the Plumbers had to break into Dr. Fielding's office, and Larry O'Brien's. A free press is undoubtedly the cornerstone of Democracy, but it functions best when it is not populated by over-inflated egos who think they are the soul arbiter of freedom of expression.
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM

Three Days of the Condor
Three Days of the Condor
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 29.98
15 used & new from CDN$ 6.95

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars GREAT FILM, UNIMPRESIVE POLITICAL VIEWS, June 6 2004
This review is from: Three Days of the Condor (DVD)
Robert Redford made a clunker called "The Way We Were" with Barbra Streisand that desperately tried to explain, apologize for, justify, glorify and approve of being an American Communist during McCarthyism, but just plain fails. He made the 1973 classic "Three Days of the Condor" (1973), with Cliff Robertson and Faye Dunnaway. He plays a CIA reader, a kind of pre-Tom Clancy research guy, a benign fellow among other benign CIA fellows, all of whom are murdered in a fuzzily explained hit by bad CIA fellows. After escaping, Redford tries to get to the bottom of it. Since he is a genius he has the intellectual tools to outwit his chasers. This is the film's highlight, revolving around the sexual tension between Redford and the redoubtable Faye, who he "kidnaps" in order to have a place to hide out, her apartment. The movie goes off the deep when the whole conspiracy turns out to be about the CIA's covert operations in the Middle East, where the U.S. apparently is planning the invasion (that never actually occurred) to take over OPEC. The message is that The Company murders innocents, the U.S. is a warmongering empire, and tool of capitalist greed. It is Redford's answer to Guatemala, Iran and Chile, where the people killed were generally Communists. Redford would rather show the CIA killing Chinese- and African-Americans and other non-threats.
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM

The Candidate
The Candidate
DVD ~ Robert Redford
Offered by M and N Media Canada
Price: CDN$ 76.44
9 used & new from CDN$ 24.96

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT POLITICAL FLICK, June 6 2004
This review is from: The Candidate (DVD)
Robert Redford was behind the entertaining political movie "The Candidate" (1972), which goes a long way towards explaining how the game works. This film is really not a liberal one, which is what makes it worthwhile even after 30 years. It is supposed to be based on Edmund "Jerry" Brown, former California Governor Pat Brown's son. Jerry Brown at the time was a youthful Secretary of State who would go one to two terms as Governor. He was a new kind of pol, attractive, a bit of swinger who dated rock star Linda Rohnstadt, and representative of the Golden State image of the 1970s. They called him "Governor Moonbeam".
Redford plays the son of the former Governor of California, played by Melvyn Douglas. The old man is old school all the way, having schmoozed his way up the slippery slope through implied corrupt deals with labor unions and other Democrat special interests. Redford is a young man who played football at Stanford and is now a social issues lawyer of the pro bono variety, helping Mexicans in Central California. Peter Boyle knew him at Stanford and is now a Democrat political consultant who recruits Redford to run for Senator against Crocker Jarman, an entrenched conservative Orange County Republican. Jarman could be Reagan, but he is as much a composite of the traditional Republican: Strong on defense, down on affirmative action and welfare, a real "up by the bootstraps" guy who emerged from the Depression and World War II to make up our "greatest generation."
The film does an about-face on perceptions that, in many cases, turn out to be true. Redford is the rich kid with connections. Jarman beat the Depression like the rest of the U.S., without a social worker.
"How did we do it?" he mocks.
Redford's film wife is played by Karen Carlson, pure eye candy (but what happened to her career I cannot say?). She has ambitions of her own, and pushes him to do it because he has the "power," an undefined sexual charisma of the JFK variety. Redford plays a caricature of himself, handsome but considered an empty suit. His deal is he can say any outrageous thing because he cannot win anyway, and in so doing shows he has the brains. When he creeps up in the polls, the idealism gives way to standard politicking, complete with deals with his old man's crooked labor buddies. He wins, demonstrating the power of looks and TV advertising. In the end he expresses that he is not prepared for the task.
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM

All the President's Men (Widescreen/Full Screen)
All the President's Men (Widescreen/Full Screen)
DVD ~ Dustin Hoffman
Offered by vidco
Price: CDN$ 13.39
10 used & new from CDN$ 2.89

0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars KENNEDY STOLE 1960 FROM NIXON, BUT NOBODY MAKES THAT MOVIE, June 6 2004
"All the President's Men" (1976) was Robert Redford's breakthrough from pretty boy star to filmmaker with clout. Redford, a former baseball player at L.A.'s Van Nuys High School whose classmates were Dodger Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale and (...) Natalie Wood, had been typecast by his looks and blonde hair into Malibu beach boy roles early on. This offended his sensibilities as an artist. Redford is in some ways the patron saint of liberal movie stars, and his story is a common one. He is no Dumbellionite, even though he dropped out of college. Like so many, he was drawn like a bee to honey to the theatre, trekking to New York as a teenager. His liberal views apparently were formed in his youth, growing up in the Mexican section of Santa Monica and seeing racism up close (at least, that is the story he tells). His lack of formal education in no way speaks to a lack of political knowledge, but his success and looks speak to a certain amount of good luck while others his age were in Southeast Asia. This very likely created a guilt complex that Redford, a star with an ego, could not manifest upon himself, so he found a culprit in this country, which had provided him a forum to achieve so much (...)

The Parallax View (Widescreen)
The Parallax View (Widescreen)
DVD ~ Warren Beatty
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 34.56
13 used & new from CDN$ 17.95

3.0 out of 5 stars NOT SURE WHAT BEATTY WAS SHOOTING FOR, June 6 2004
"The Parallax View" was big liberal Warren Beatty's attempt to describe a conspiracy involving shadowy government agencies. It is entertaining and worth watching, but misses the mark. Beatty seems to be trying to piece together an explanation on how, or even who, killed Kennedy. "The Manchurian Candidate" may have inspired him. Beatty plays a journalist who goes undercover, allowing himself to be recruited by the Parallax Corporation, presumably a CIA front that trains assassins. His psychological profile is determined in part by watching a disturbing montage of scenes, ranging from love, sex and patriotism to war, gore and devil worship, mixed with the juxtaposition of wealth vs. need. The point seems to be that people go hungry while rich America has sex and kills people?
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM

NEW Marathon Man (DVD)
NEW Marathon Man (DVD)
Offered by Warehouse105
Price: CDN$ 8.44
25 used & new from CDN$ 3.98

5.0 out of 5 stars THEY DO NOT MAKE MOVIES THIS GOOD ANY MORE, June 6 2004
This review is from: NEW Marathon Man (DVD) (DVD)
The conspiracy movies included two fictional stories, "Marathon Man" and "The Parallax View", as well as the Watergate movie, "All the President's Men" (which Robert Redford produced after giving long consideration to a movie about how Kennedy stole the 1960 election...not!).
"Marathon Man" was directed by John Schlesinger, written by the great William Goldman (based on his novel), and produced by Bob Evans. Goldman, along with Towne, is considered one of the best screenwriters of all time. "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1968) is an original screenplay that gets as much study as "Chinatown", and his book "Adventures in the Screen Trade" is a must-read for industry insiders. "Marathon Man" stars Dustin Hoffman as a Columbia doctoral student, obsessed with his thesis about his father, who committed suicide when he was "victimized" by McCarthyism. His brother is Roy Scheider, a super-secret agent for an organization that handles, apparently, what the FBI cannot and the CIA will not. His pal is William DeVane, and he is in league with the devil, a former Nazi dentist named Christian Zsell (played to perfection by Laurence Olivier), based on Joseph Mengele. Zsell is also known as the "White Angel". The plot revolves around millions of dollars worth of diamonds, smuggled to the U.S. by Zsell with DeVane's (and Sheider's) help. Hoffman accidentally gets involved and foils the plot. It is brilliant stuff in every way, shape and form, but coming on the heels of the Church hearings, the film plays on the public's belief that the CIA is corrupt, bent more on money and power than protecting the interests of freedom. The anti-hero is Hoffman. The backstory of his persecuted Jewish father strengthens the myth that fine liberals of conscience were the victims of the McCarthy witch-hunt. Like all films depicting McCarthyism, the victim is fictional and there are no scenes based on real events. This is because actual scenes of actual "victims," if they hold to the truth, will show actual Communists being caught in lies by public officials using perfectly normally and legal techniques of American justice.
(...)

The Wind and the Lion [Import]
The Wind and the Lion [Import]
DVD ~ Sean Connery
Offered by importcds__
Price: CDN$ 6.73
27 used & new from CDN$ 6.73

4.0 out of 5 stars FABULOUS FILM THAT STILL HOLDS UP, June 6 2004
"The Wind and the Lion" was a beautiful John Milius film and story, with a pulse-pounding sound track. Brian Keith plays Teddy Roosevelt, who orders U.S. troops to Morocco to protect U.S. interests, as well he should have. Candice Bergen is an American socialite, kidnapped by a roguish Arab sand pirate, played by Sean Connery. The film is much more story, character rivalry and romance than history, but it does not hand us any of the usual garbage portraying the U.S. as racist exploiters. Instead, America under Roosevelt is portrayed as a modern power, unafraid to flex its muscles, but not willing to go overboard.
Milius writes and directs to this day. He has a tremendous love of history, a conservative trait. The reason for this is simple. History is the accurate description of great things done by conservatives. No wonder we love history. He is not the household name that Speilberg, Coppola or Lucas are. He says he is comfortable with the decisions he made, which were to be up-front about his politics regardless of whether it cost him. He freely admits that his conservatism indeed did prevent him from the kind of greatness that he was capable of.
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM

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